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The Devil's Foot 

While convalescing in Cornwall, a depressive Holmes investigates the apparent death from apoplexy of a local woman and the unexplained sudden dementia of her two brothers.


Ken Hannam


Arthur Conan Doyle (by) (as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle), John Hawkesworth (developed for television by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Jeremy Brett ... Sherlock Holmes
Edward Hardwicke ... Dr Watson
Denis Quilley ... Dr Leon Sterndale
Damien Thomas ... Mortimer Tregennis
Michael Aitkens Michael Aitkens ... Reverend Roundhay
Freda Dowie ... Mrs Porter
Norman Bowler ... Owen Tregennis
Peter Shaw Peter Shaw ... George Tregennis
Christine Collins Christine Collins ... Brenda Tregennis
John Saunders John Saunders ... Dr Richards
Frank Moorey Frank Moorey ... Police Inspector


Suffering from depression and nearing a breakdown, Holmes is accompanied by Watson to Cornwall for rest and recuperation as they tour the area's scenic coastal cliffs and Neolithic sites. The tranquility is interrupted by news that an unexplained tragedy has suddenly struck three siblings while playing cards in their home. The sister has apparently died from apoplexy, and her two brothers are suffering from acute dementia with expressions of fear and horror frozen on their faces. Showing great will power, Holmes discards his cocaine hypodermic and scrutinizes those involved in the case: an estranged third brother, the local vicar, and an enigmatic big game hunter and African explorer. Written by Gabe Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

6 April 1988 (UK) See more »

Filming Locations:

Cadgwith, Cornwall, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Granada Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The scene of Holmes burying his syringe came in reaction to the producers and Brett learning that this Sherlock Holmes was very popular with children, who saw him as a superhero. As such, Brett was troubled that Holmes was setting a bad example to that audience with his cocaine usage. In response, he sought and obtained permission from Arthur Conan Doyle's daughter,Dame Jean Doyle and the Doyle estate for permission to have Holmes overcome and abandon his addiction. See more »


It's obvious several times throughout that Damien Thomas and Denis Quilley are wearing false beards. See more »


[first lines]
Dr Watson: Almost there.
Sherlock Holmes: What does a Harley Street specialist know about my health?
Dr Watson: Listen, Holmes, Dr Moore Agar insists you have a complete rest if you wish to avoid an absolute breakdown. The sea air will do you the world of good.
See more »


Version of The Devil's Foot (1921) See more »

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User Reviews

Some Excitement for Holmes
11 February 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

Holmes is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and needs his fix: a really interesting case. It comes when a trio of people, playing cards are suddenly stricken with catalepsy. One, the woman, dies and there is no explanation for it. This leads to a big game hunter who appears on the scene. He has had experiences in parts of Africa. A logical candidate for what has happened. We know that a writer or director doesn't throw this in if there isn't some significance. The key to it all is motive. If someone is responsible, who and why? This is well done. Brett is at his best in putting together the critical issues of time and opportunity and the conclusion is valid. Once again Holmes is faced with a moral dilemma, one which he has faced many times.

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